From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 3344 face-on. Nearly 40,000 light-years across, the big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located just 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo Minor. This multi-color Hubble Space Telescope close-up of NGC 3344 includes remarkable details from near infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths. The […]
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Colourful star trails arc through the night in this wide-angle mountain and skyscape. From a rotating planet, the digitally added consecutive exposures were made with a camera fixed to a tripod and looking south, over northern Iran’s Alborz Mountain range. The stars trace concentric arcs around the planet’s south celestial pole, below the scene’s rugged […]
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Last week, a car orbited the Earth. The car, created by humans and robots on the Earth, was launched by the SpaceX Company to demonstrate the ability of its Falcon Heavy Rocket to place spacecraft out in the Solar System. Purposely fashioned to be whimsical, the iconic car was thought a better demonstration object than […]
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Happy New Year everybody! To begin the year we’re doing something a little different. This month’s image is taken by Afsheen Rane, an amateur astronomer at University of Toronto. Photographed is the Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42) which is around 1300 light years away from Earth. Its brightness allows it to be visible […]
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Fans of our fair planet might recognize the outlines of these cosmic clouds. On the left, bright emission outlined by dark, obscuring dust lanes seems to trace a continental shape, lending the popular name North America Nebula to the emission region cataloged as NGC 7000. To the right, just off the North America Nebula’s east […]
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Star Talk: Exploring Space… from Earth

February 13, 2018
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exploringspacefromearth“Exploring Space… from Earth” with Dr. Marianne Mader

Abstract: Learn how planetary scientists explore other planets here on Earth, through comparative planetology and meteoritics, and how we are preparing for future space missions by conducting terrestrial analogue missions. Dr. Mader will share stories from the field, including her work in the Arctic and Antarctica. Step into the shoes of a geologist and try your hand at meteorite hunting in this interactive presentation.

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About the speaker: Dr. Mader has dedicated her career to sharing her love for science and space exploration through innovative public engagement, participatory education, and planetary science research. Currently, the Managing Director of Earth & Space/Fossils & Evolution at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), she leads multidisciplinary initiatives to help people understand the Earth, our solar system and how life evolved over time. With over 13 years of research & field experience, Dr. Mader has studied some of the oldest rocks on Earth in Greenland, explored impact craters across the globe, and collected meteorites in Antarctica. She’s worked with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA, and numerous Canadian space companies. She’s a Visiting Lecturer at the International Space University, and her education includes a PhD in Planetary Science, MSc in Space Studies, and an MSc in Earth Sciences.

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Date and Location: 7:00 PM Feb. 28, Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories (LM), Room 161

Telescope observing: 8:00 PM on 14th floor of McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP) (weather permitting) — you will be guided to the telescopes.

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February 2018: Picture of the Month

February 13, 2018
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spacex

Last week, a car orbited the Earth. The car, created by humans and robots on the Earth, was launched by the SpaceX Company to demonstrate the ability of its Falcon Heavy Rocket to place spacecraft out in the Solar System. Purposely fashioned to be whimsical, the iconic car was thought a better demonstration object than concrete blocks. A mannequin clad in a spacesuit — dubbed the Starman — sits in the driver’s seat. The featured image is a frame from a video taken by one of three cameras mounted on the car. These cameras, connected to the car’s battery, are now out of power. The car, attached to a second stage booster, soon left Earth orbit and will orbit the Sun between Earth and the asteroid belt indefinitely — perhaps until billions of years from now when our Sun expands into a Red Giant. If ever recovered, what’s left of the car may become a unique window into technologies developed on Earth in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

For more information, check out APOD!

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: 15TH ASX SYMPOSIUM CANCELLED

January 26, 2018
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Hello everyone,

It is with much sadness and regret that due to a series of unforeseeable events, we have unfortunately been forced to cancel the 15th Annual ASX Symposium, originally planned for February 2nd…

Yesterday, Dr. John B. Charles informed us that due to the recent US government shutdown and new laws put in place by the US State Department, that he is unable to travel to Canada for the event. We discussed with him to participate in the Symposium through Skype or some other form of video conferencing in order to still proceed with the event as planned. However, just today Professor Soon Jo Chung informed us that he has a serious family emergency and will also be unable to attend the event. Thus, because of the inability of both speakers to attend the event and the close proximity to the date of the event, we have been forced to cancel the event outright.

For all of those who purchased a ticket through Eventbrite, we will provide you with a refund, which should appear within 5-7 days.

We at ASX were extremely excited to host this event for everyone, and we are extremely saddened to bring you this unfortunate news. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

– The 2017-2018 ASX Executive Team

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ASX 15th Symposium Schedule

January 21, 2018
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asx15cover

Hello everybody! It’s your friendly neighbourhood astronomy & space exploration club here to give you another update on our upcoming symposium. This time we have for y’all the event’s schedule, so without further ado…

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Event Schedule
5:30: Doors open
5:30 – 6:00: Ticketing
6:00 – 6:10: Opening Remarks
6:10 – 7:00: 1st speaker: Dr. John Charles
7:00 – 7:10: Q&A
7:10 – 7:20: Intermission
7:20 – 8:10: 2nd speaker: Prof. Soon-Jo Chung
8:10 – 8:20: Q&A
8:20 – 8:30: Closing Remarks
8:30 – 8:40: Raffle
8:40 – 9:30: Reception (food and drinks)

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Once again we cannot wait to see everybody there!

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Star Talk: Computer Vision on Mars REDUX

January 15, 2018
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computer_vision_on_mars“Computer Vision on Mars “, with Professor Jonathan Kelly

Hey everybody! As you may have remembered in November this Star Talk was cancelled due to some unforeseen events, so we’re gonna give this one more go!

Abstract: Modern computer vision technologies have been key to improving our understanding of the Red Planet over the past 15 years. Vision systems are deployed on-orbit (e.g., the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), on the surface (e.g., the vision sensors on the rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity), and have also been used for safe entry, descent, and landing of recent robotic platforms reaching the surface. In this talk, I will review the design and use of several of these vision systems, including, for example, how the Curiosity rover makes use of visual navigation methods when wheel odometry is unreliable (rolling over sandy terrain).

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About the speaker: Professor Jonathan Kelly is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies and the Director of the Space & Terrestrial Autonomous Robotic Systems (STARS) Laboratory. Before joining the University of Toronto, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Robust Robotics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he completed his Ph.D. in the Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory at the University of Southern California.

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Date and Location: 7:10 PM Jan. 24th, McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP), Room 137

Telescope observing: 8:00 PM on 14th floor of McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP) (weather permitting) — you will be guided to the telescopes.

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